KATHMANDU, Jan 9: Nepal Street Vendors Trade Union (NEST) has organized street marches in all seven provinces of the country against what they call ‘Kathmandu Metropolis’ highhandedness against the street vendors’ on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of NEST on Monday.
NEST highlighted the fact that the goods belonging to street vendors are snatched away by the metropolis police and urged the government and the metropolis to create a provision of paying back with minimum revenue. “It has been 20 years since the establishment of the Union, but the demands of the street vendors are yet to be fulfilled. The government has not yet formulated and implemented any sort of policies to address street vendors' issues. So, we have launched struggles to make our voices heard,” said Maya Gurung, chairperson of the central committee of NEST and member of StreetNet International Council.
The street vendors are up against Mayor Balendra Shah’s move to remove them without making any alternative arrangements for them. They organized marches across the country seeking a separate space for them in public space and their right to work and earn a living. They chanted slogans such as “Street vending is our compulsion, not interest”, “Ensure social security”, “Establish a labor desk at the metropolis” and so on.
“After Balendra Shah was elected as the mayor of Kathmandu, he instructed the metropolitan police to chase away the street vendors, which resulted in a daily experience of violence for our members. In Kathmandu, street vendors have been banned from their usual places of business and are unable to work for months, which has resulted in loss of incomes and livelihoods,” according to NEST.
Chairperson Maya Gurung added, “Business registration, market management for all street hawkers, footpath vendors, and sidewalk traders across Nepal should be ensured at all levels - from local to federal - with the access of long-term legal provisions.” Gurung further stated that the government should give them access to the social security fund for their financial stability. If long-term management is not guaranteed, the metropolis should provide vendors with specified market space.”
To protest against the Kathmandu Metropolis’ crackdown on street vendors, NEST has planned to organize a march in areas such as New Road, Mahankal, Ratnapark, Old Bus Park etc. The march will converge into a rally after reaching Nepal Law Campus’ Hall at Pradarshani Marg (Exhibition Road).